Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Shame and Change

There are parts of my personality I know I can work on. In order to do this, I need to have a sense of humility and humble myself. This is something that I have a difficult time with. Not because I'm conceited and think I am perfect, but because I have a difficult time dealing with shame. I feel deep shame in who I am, and talking about the things I am ashamed about out loud causes even further shame. I have a fear people's reactions, I fear being perceived as not making progress, and I have a tendency to focus on the "negative." One set back or "bad" trait erases all the positive and all the progress.

I also have a tendency to catastrophize. For example, I used to be super strict about how often I eat fast food. I have since become a bit more lax about it, and there have been times where I've had McDonald's or ordered out more than twice in a week. In the broader aspect, it's not like I'm eating fast food every day, but my brain focuses on that small amount of time. Having Borderline, you all know I'm very black and white. So I go from, "I'm being too strict" to "I'm a disgusting fat pig who eats like shit and I should probably kill myself." The point of this is to relay that admitting I can improve in some aspects turns into me catastrophizing.

Okay, so what do I want to work on?

  • Eating healthier: Look, I'm not into these food or diet fads. I will never be a person who counts carbs and calories. It causes me too much anxiety and confusion, and in my opinion takes too much mental effort. What I am good at is setting concrete goals. Fast food only once a month, cut back on bread carbs, continue to not drink soda and alcohol, sweets on special occasions. Eating healthier isn't what's hard for me, it's admitting I have to. Because my brain tells me that if I admit I don't always eat great then I am a failure, people are going to rub it in, I'm going to be punished and the universe is going to make me fat. And, as I've said many times before, I'd rather be dead than fat. I also have a lot of health nut friends who, in my mind, can't wait to rub their healthy lifestyle in my face. I'm sure I'm being irrational, but trying to rationalize with my brain is like trying to herd cats.
  • Being more tactful in communication: I've recently been told by a couple of people that others take issue with how I communicate. Now, ignoring the fact that a lot of people in this day and age can't handle blunt and honest communication and would rather be catty, make snide comments, talk behind people's backs, and tell everyone else they have a problem with you except you; I admit that I can sometimes be intense. I am really bad at making "I" statements, or starting with the positive. But why? I think it's important to understand why I communicate the way I do. There are a few reasons;
  1. NVLD presents a lot of Asperger's in that I don't always realize when I'm not being tactful and I struggle with social interactions. I am blunt and too the point, and I don't always read peoples reactions well.
  2. I spent 6th-12th grade being bullied, lied to, feeling like an outsider in my own home. For much of that I was abused by my step mom. I was always the one who never spoke up, kept quiet. So when I finally found my voice, you can damn well be sure I'm going to use it. 
  3. I am constantly being interrupted. By my family, friends, my boyfriend. So I've learned to be quick and to the point, and sometimes that comes out as tactless.
  4. I struggle to put my thoughts into words, and so I've found the best approach for me is not thinking about it, and just speaking.
  5. I've been abused. Emotionally, sexually, physically. I've had people walk all over me, take advantage of me, threaten me, threaten my life. Simply put, I won't keep quiet. People have a problem with strong women. Women are always softening their stances with, "I'm really sorry," and "I hope this doesn't upset you." But when a man does it? It's celebrated.
  With all this being said, I recognize that there are some people who just can't handle blunt people. So, I am going to try my best to word things carefully, maybe even write them down. The problem is, when I have to start thinking about every single word I say and wording things perfectly, I start to become anxious and paranoid.  The people who say this stuff to me, don't understand that I'm not always like this. When I am super blunt it's in these situations....

  1. I am scared to approach someone so I want to do it like a band-aid...right off and to the point.
  2. I am in a certain mood. I am frustrated, irritated, etc.
  3. I have already tried the "fluff" approach.
This causes more issues in my head. I think people see me in a certain way, I become angry, I get defensive, I feel I need to prove myself, I feel I need to scream at them that they are wrong about me. I get into "blinders" way of thinking. I only see the "negative." I then start feeling immense shame, which causes self-judgement, which causes worry, which causes anxiety, which causes shame, which get the point. 

I think, what I need to do first is start letting stuff go. People suck, people do annoying things, but I can't keep letting everything get to me. If someone wants to suck at being a decent person, that's on them. I need to stop speaking up against every tiny annoyance. I should save my breath for bigger and more important things (like human rights). That will be my goal this month, only saying something if it's directly affecting me and my life in a negative way. If I do need to communicate with someone, I will write it out first and have someone read it.

Of course, this makes me feel like a piece of shit human who can't function like a normal adult, but hey. Win some, lose some. I'll basically spend the next several days dwelling, getting angry and irritated at everything I do, and feeling like a waste of space. Because if you think you're too hard on me, remember there is no one harder on me than me. There are days I hate myself so much I want to rip myself open and climb out. I know I'm being irrational and I'm letting Beth take over. I'll let her play....for now.

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